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China's Public Security Bureau has launched a new crackdown on unregistered church leaders, arresting 50 or more people following the release of a new video and book, documenting huge growth among Christians outside the officially permitted church.

In mid-February, the China Aid Association confirmed that in January police arrested three prominent Protestant leaders from Henan province, including Qiao Chunling, 41, in Luoyang; Deborah Xu Yongling, 58, in Nanyang; and Zeng Guangbo, 35, in Deng County. Guangbo escaped two days after he was arrested, and remains in hiding.

The crackdown may last for 30 days and began during China's annual National Religious Working Conference. This meeting brings together top leaders of the state Religious Affairs Bureau and the policy-making United Front Work Department. Both are charged with oversight of religion in China.

During that meeting, communist leaders screened a new, four-hour digital video, The Cross: Jesus in China.China Soul for Christ Foundation of Petaluma, California, produced the series and Yuan Zhiming, a pro-democracy leader and a Christian, wrote and directed it.

Communist leaders were also briefed on Jesus in Beijing, a new book by journalist David Aikman, formerly a Time magazine correspondent in Beijing. Both the video and book document the stunning growth and vibrancy of Christianity in China. The video has been classified as "political matter," and Public Security Bureau officers are confiscating CDV copies of the widely distributed series and other Christian literature.

A source based in Hong Kong told CT that the crackdown will focus on "the people mentioned in the video and the book" and may be as brutal as the recent repression of Falun Gong. China's actions against ...

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February 2004

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